23 June 2023

Encouraging signs as more slopes open in high country resorts

| Gail Eastaway
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Good snowfalls form Perisher Valley and Snowy Mountains resorts.

Front Valley powder at Perisher on Tuesday. Photo: Perisher.

Excitement is building in the Snowy Mountains region as even more ski lifts start opening this week.

But the buzz isn’t just up on the hill. Businesses in Jindabyne are looking forward to a big weekend coming up – the first weekend of the ski season with snow.

President of the Jindabyne Chamber of Commerce, Olivier Kapetanakos, said this ski season had been a bit like being pregnant.

“You know it’s going to happen, you know it’s going to arrive, but you don’t know exactly when,” he said, referring to the snowfall.

He said Jindabyne businesses were greatly relieved snow had fallen in the resorts as business had been a bit slow.

“It has been a bit stressful,” he said.

“While everyone was hoping for a big year like 2022, it hasn’t really happened. People are cutting back on their ski spending and interstate travel is suffering from the cost of airfares.

“Whereas some people would come for seven days, now we find they are asking to cut back to five days and people who are regular skiers are also sitting back a bit.

“For people having their once-in-a-lifetime ski holiday, it’s a bit different, they are still doing that, but some of the regulars might be holding off a little.”

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Olivier said about 50 per cent of skiers came from Sydney, with about five per cent from Canberra or local.

The rest was made of interstate or overseas visitors, and the cost of travel was having an impact.

But, for those heading for the hills this weekend, continued snowmaking together with natural snowfalls should ensure a full-on experience.

Thredbo has advised the Cruiser Chairlift, the Merritts Gondola, the Gunbarrel Chairlift and the Easy Does It Chairlift will all be spinning, providing skiing and snowboarding access to the majority of the Cruiser Area, Friday Flat and High Noon, which opened on Wednesday.

Thredbo said momentum was building, terrain was opening and that they were “not slowing down anytime soon”.

“We had a strong night of snowmaking last night with 172 snowmaking guns firing all night long, continuing to build up the base across the mountain.

“The snow conditions will remain dry but will be well packed after cold temperatures and snowmaking overnight so expect some firm and fast laps early on.”

However, early season conditions apply and skiers and boarders are requested to take care.

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Perisher’s field marketing manager, Maddi Ventura advised: “While no new snow from Mother Nature today, our ‘mountain ops’ team have had the snow guns blasting. The conditions out there are fantastic today – great powder and a real bluebird day, we love to see it!”

Selwyn Ski Resort is opening today (23 June). A spokesperson said: “Following these great snowfalls and snowmaking conditons we are opening New Chum Chair lift, Wes’ Wonderful Carpet and The Toboggan Park on Friday, 23 June. We can’t wait to welcome our guests for the 2023 snow season!”

The weather forecast for the rest of this week is encouraging, with snow showers expected through until Tuesday (27 June), unfortunately, accompanied by windy conditions.

Alpine conditions apply to all mountain roads at this time of the year. It is compulsory to carry chains in the Kosciuszko National Park and to fit them as conditions demand.

Motorists are advised to check road conditions before heading to the mountains.

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